Subbing for the first time soon and I am feeling anxious.

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Brian of the Hills, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. Brian of the Hills

    Brian of the Hills Rookie

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    Mar 25, 2018

    Hello, I recently joined this forum and this is my first post. I am a young aspiring educator who just applied to a credential program at a local university, and while I am waiting for that to begin I am trying to pick up work as a substitute teacher to get better acquainted with the classroom and earn some cash on the side before I start student teaching next fall. I know it's quite late in the year to start subbing, I had hoped to start much earlier than now but certain pieces took their sweet time to fall into place.

    I was hired by a local district last week and through their job search system I accepted a job to fill in for a 6th/7th grade Spanish class this Wednesday. The ability to speak Spanish is apparently "preferred, but not required." This is my first gig ever and while I am not a typically anxious person, this feels like a huge step and some thoughts in the back of my mind are feeding my anxiety, like "What if I am too much of a pushover to properly manage a classroom?" and "My area of expertise is English Literature, am I out of my depth here?" and "What if I just generally make a fool of myself?"

    I am calling the school tomorrow to hopefully speak to the teacher I am filling in for and ask him about his class and his lesson plan for Wednesday. Before then, I want to turn to this community to ask about your first-time subbing experiences. I just read a thread about someone who had a rough time in a high school classroom and while the details were intimidating, it was nice to see they made it through in one piece. I'd appreciate any advice that will help me get over the terror of sailing into uncharted waters. Thank you all in advance!
     
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  3. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Mar 25, 2018

    The important thing to remember at the end of the day the most important thing is that everyone is safe. I was in the same boat as you a few months ago. I always start off super strict and let nothing fly and as I ease into the class. I let go of the reigns. (However I am more elementary ed and so I have them the whole day)

    You got this!
     
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  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I wouldn’t count on being able to speak to the teacher ahead of time. Chances are high you will be handing out an assignment and supervising the students until the class is over.
     
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  5. Brian of the Hills

    Brian of the Hills Rookie

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    Ah, I see. So what exactly comes after accepting the job online then? Do I simply show up at the office the day of? Or should I at least speak with the principal before then?
     
  6. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    In my school subs show up, check in with the main office, and generally have less than 5 minutes to get to the room and read over the plans before students arrive. Fortunately enough the plans at secondary are usually pretty simple (i.e. pass out WS, have students read, etc. etc.) Calling the teacher or speaking with the principal would be highly unordinary. I think you're going to be perfectly fine
     
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  7. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Mar 26, 2018

    Not trying to disagree with this post but usually if you email the teacher ahead of time I tend to get responses. Usually my email is generic.

    Hello my name is __________ I am your sub for ____________. I was wondering if there was anything special I needed to know. I am looking forward to meeting your class.

    Usually I get an email with everything even the lesson to be given that day. Teachers always seem to appreciate that.

    I will agree though that yea you will probable give an assignment and supervise.
     
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  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Mar 26, 2018

    I think subbing is a great way to stick your toes in the water. Yeah, it's cold, but you get used to it really fast!

    My subbing experiences provided a great deal of ideas, teaching strategies, and expanded my horizons. I saw some really great things, strange things, and scary things as well. Fire drills, sick kids, helicopter parents, you name it. All in a days work I say.

    One thing I will say is that the second half of the year is definitely easier. The students already know the routine. They will run the entire day without you saying a word. If you leave anything out, trust me - they will let you know.

    There were some unique assignments where I actually had the teacher present. In one case, she was having conferences all day. She stepped in and greeted me with her class and told them she was still there! That made my day nice and smooth. In another class, I had this long note which read: "You will be working with a student teacher. She is in charge. Your role is the certified staff ONLY. Do not do any instruction or supervision." Talk about an easy day! I literally got paid for doing nothing!!! Awkward, but I complied.

    There was another time where I had a real rowdy bunch of 3rd graders. The principal was so impressed with me, that the next time I subbed, he told me: "I am short a sub, so I'm breaking up this class and giving you 5 more students." Gee, thanks, I thought to myself. But later, I used that in my interviews.

    Teachers would see me in the hall and say, "I like you, you're good! I'll be off next week and I'm requesting you!" Wow, that made me feel good!

    I honestly have seen some teachers notes and ignored them. I don't show movies to 5th graders (no lights off on my watch), and I don't grade papers. Eh, just me. Sometimes, I feel that I shouldn't give out punishment. When I see notes that say, ("Do not let Alex go to recess, send him next door.") I go with my gut. I feel that the punishment belongs to the teacher; as long as Alex didn't do anything traumatic with me, so he can go outside! His teacher can keep him in when she returns!

    One assignment had the Sp. Ed. teacher drop in to pick up her students. The next assignment, I was the Sp. Ed. teacher. All the teachers kept checking on me, shaking their heads. I was fine! I had a great time with those kids.

    I came back late from lunch once. Sooo embarassed. The principal told me he had already signed my timesheet and I could go. The kids were really rough, but I was getting through the day. When I came in, they had the lunch monitor in my room. I told the principal, I needed to go back to the classroom to get my personal belongings. When I went in the room, the kids cheered! "Ms. ____!" she's back!!" Well, the principal turned his head, and walked away! He let me stay and I continued to get calls for that school. I even got a bonus for covering a night assignment for their Christmas program! Two hours, $180. That was nice.

    Make a sub folder and bag for yourself. Collect some workbooks for all subjects. Include some good books, pens, sharpie markers, basic school supplies. You don't want to be searching inside somebody's drawers for paper clips. The kids will tell. (The teacher fills out a survey on you. So be sure to leave the room tidy.)

    Come in super early, sign in at the office. There may be two sign in sheets, one for subs and one for visitors. You may get calls automatically, but the sign in sheet is what generates your check. Get a sub folder, if available, and look over the bell schedule. Ask about any specials, or assemblies that day. Won't see that in the folder!

    When you find the room, write your name on the board, and look over the sub notes. Make sure you introduce yourself to neighboring teachers. They will show you around. Find the restroom, water fountain, teacher's lounge. Map out the place, and plan to arrive early for school buses and general traffic. Make sure you know where to park. High schools are huge campuses. You may get guest parking, or have to park clear across the road and walk a mile to the main door.
     
  9. Brian of the Hills

    Brian of the Hills Rookie

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    This entire response is so incredibly insightful and reassuring, thank you so much!
     
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  10. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Mar 26, 2018

    Thank you Brian!

    I got to the point where I got to know the schools, and the kids, and it was great for me. Before the robocalls, I knew the secretaries and sub callers too. Some smaller districts still call their subs directly. They would say, "You want 3rd or 5th?", I say, "3rd!" "Okay, 3rd is going on a field trip." Oh no! I'll take 5th. "Well, there is Sp. Ed. or Gym." Hmmmm. "I'll take Gym for $150 Alex!" Yes, my Jeopardy joke...

    Gym is a special and pays more! What's not to like about gym class? Oh, yeah, you have bus duty too! ;)
     
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  11. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Mar 26, 2018

    lol your district sounds so much better than mine haha.
     
  12. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Yes Hokiegrad, there are some good ones and not so good ones... :p

    Bring a jacket, A/C or heat can be iffy. Pack a lunch. Some places have closed campuses, (i.e. nobody but admin. can leave on lunch break) and/or nothing close by. You can eat in the cafeteria too, but you can usually stay in your room and look over notes while eating.

    Check for bus duty, hall duty, lunch duty. Don't want to be sitting in your room if your teacher is supposed to be out in the hall between classes.

    Bring water too. And a few mints or cough drops. You don't want to be in a coughing fit during a lesson.

    If you eat in the teacher lounge, smile and say hello. Other teachers may be looking for subs and everyone is (judging) watching you. People will see your badge, and recognize you are new. If you put your head down and flip through your phone, it may come off as being rude or indifferent. Say, "Hi, I am Brian of the Hills, and I'm covering Mr. Smith's class." Then take it from there. If they turn around and start talking to you, join in. You need to make some personal calls, by all means do, but go off in a corner if you can. Keep quiet about personal stuff. If you know your teacher will be out for months, no need to share. IMO, this is more than some people need to know. This is your job, and you want to keep it. Somebody else might be plotting to get over there...Just saying....
     

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